Audi joins autonomous group as VW updates ID. models

06 July 2021

Audi has joined The Autonomous, a group dedicated to the development of vehicle autonomy. Establishing this long-term collaboration, the aim is to bring together carmakers, technology companies and researchers in the pursuit of mass autonomous-vehicle production.

Elsewhere within Audi’s parent group, Volkswagen (VW) Passenger Cars has launched an over-the-air update for its family of ID. models. This marks a milestone for the carmaker on the road to becoming more software orientated. In the future, it plans to carry out updates like these every 12 weeks.

The automotive industry is undergoing a period of digitisation. The latest models are no longer defined as feats of engineering but by the success of their software. Consumers are growing to expect more connected technology; cars not only capable of connecting to a smartphone but behaving like one too. This puts pressure on carmakers to become not only mobility providers but software developers.

The Autonomous

As part of its new collaboration effort, Audi will be working alongside the likes of VW Group’s software company Cariad, Denso, Baselabs, CoreAVI, Arm, Five, the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE), NXP, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology and TTTech Auto. The goal of this group is to lay the foundation for safety standardisation and mass autonomous-vehicle production.

‘Safety and customer acceptance are more than just important factors, they are fundamental prerequisites for the development of automated driving. We, therefore, welcome the initiative of “The Autonomous” to create a working group that is committed to working towards a safe system architecture for self-driving vehicles. It will allow us to cooperate beyond industry borders for the benefit of automated-driving technology,’ said Stefan Sollmann, head of automated-driving advance development at Audi Cariad.

The Autonomous has also established a new level of long-term collaboration with its first working group called ‘Safety and Architecture’. This will include subsystems that connect to sensors, actuators and fault-containment units. It will act as a reference solution for members and may be accessed by other companies and regions in the future.

‘This cross-industry collaboration marks the starting point for a change of mindset in the industry and for further partnerships that will help overcome major hurdles of the prevailing competition,’ said Ricky Hudi, The Autonomous chairman. ‘The development of truly automated driving will be better mastered by joint forces of car manufacturers, tier 1 suppliers, tech and research companies. Therefore, a pre-competitive environment is necessary to develop safe technology beyond borders. By this, we create the basis for sustainable customer trust including best practices and cross-industry standards.’

To learn more about autonomous-vehicle systems, how they are defined and categorised, watch the video below. Autovista24 journalist Tom Geggus answers the question; ‘what is an autonomous vehicle?’

Over-the-air updates

The ID.3 was unveiled as VW’s biggest step into electrification, designed to offer a pure-electric alternative to the Golf. But besides its drivetrain, the battery-electric vehicle (BEV) holds something else over its internal-combustion engine (ICE) predecessor. Like the rest of the ID. family, it has the potential to continue improving long after it has left the showroom.

The ID.3 will be the first to benefit from what looks to be an ongoing line of over-the-air updates. ID.Software2.3 will be delivered to VW’s ‘First Mover Club’ in July via a mobile data transfer to the vehicle’s central high-performance computers. Updates for all ID.3 and ID.4 customers will then follow gradually.

‘Volkswagen is moving up a gear when it comes to digitalisation,’ said Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars. ‘After the successful roll-out of our all-electric ID. family, the brand is once again leading the movement: we are creating a totally new, digital-customer experience with new functions and greater comfort – every 12 weeks. This makes us the first high-volume manufacturer to regularly deliver extensive over-the-air updates. This is an important milestone in the implementation of our Accelerate strategy, which is preparing Volkswagen for the connected, digital mobility of the future.’

This update is designed to improve operations, performance and comfort. More specifically, this will include enhanced light functions, optimised surroundings recognition, dynamic main-beam control, improved operability and modifications for the infotainment system, as well as performance and stability improvements.

The digitalisation of the brand is the result of cooperation between ID. Digital and Cariad. ‘Over-the-air updates are a central functionality of the digital, connected car,’ said Cariad CEO Dirk Hilgenberg. ‘They will become the norm for customers – just like downloading the latest operating system or apps on your smartphone.’